In the latest Masterclass, Ashley Ward, the director of Customer Marketing at LeanData shared her insights into reporting to both Customer Success and Marketing.
With over 14 years of experience in customer-facing roles, Ashley offered her insights into the intricacies of reporting to two different teams.
Throughout the call, Ashley shed light on her challenges, shared strategies for building trust and rapport, and highlighted the importance of customer-led initiatives.
The following includes three topics discussed by Ashley and key takeaways from her experience.
Navigating the Ownership of Customers:
“No one person or team owns the customers; they are the company’s customers”.Ashley Ward
One of the most significant themes discussed by Ashley was the age-old question of who owns the customers within an organization. Reflecting on her past experiences, she acknowledged that different teams, such as customer success, sales, and C-suite executives, often compete for ownership and control over customers.
However, Ashley stressed the importance of aligning all departments towards a customer-led approach, where the company as a whole takes responsibility for driving customer success.
This mindset reinforces the idea that prioritizing what’s best for the customers and the business as a whole should be the overarching goal.
Bridging the Gap Between Customer Success and Marketing:
“We had little support from the marketing team, so we had to create our own collateral and resources for customers.”Ashley Ward
Ashley’s journey highlighted the challenges faced when working in a customer marketing role that spanned both customer success and marketing teams. While she initially encountered confusion due to the broader scope of her responsibilities, Ashley persevered in educating others about the importance of holistic customer programs.
She emphasized that customer marketing extends beyond the creation of case studies and should encompass efforts throughout the entire customer lifecycle. Ashley’s invaluable experience highlights the need for clear communication and mutual understanding between customer success and marketing teams to drive customer-centric initiatives effectively.
Trust, Listening, and Data-Driven Decision Making:
“We use data to show the impact of our focus on different activities, even if others may not initially understand or agree with us.”Ashley Ward
Building trust and rapport with various teams and stakeholders emerged as a crucial aspect of Ashley’s success. She outlined two key strategies that helped her gain credibility and influence within her organization.
First, Ashley focused on activities with quick, visible impact, such as updating outdated customer stories and sharing case studies, which built trust and credibility with sales, marketing, and customer success teams.
Additionally, Ashley utilized data points to explain her actions and decisions, even if others initially did not fully understand or agree. By relying on data to showcase the impact of her initiatives, she gained support and trust from her colleagues.
Moreover, she stressed the importance of listening to others’ needs and occasionally going above and beyond to provide value to different teams, ultimately earning the freedom to pursue her own initiatives.
Ashley Ward’s insights surrounding the convergence of customer success and marketing shed light on the complexities faced by professionals in similar roles. Her experiences underscore the significance of adopting a customer-led approach that emphasizes collective responsibility across the organization.
By bridging gaps between teams, building trust through visible impact and data, and prioritizing customer needs, organizations can pave the way for customer success and alignment.
If you are a member, login to listen to Ashley’s entire Masterclass here.